All The Little Animals by Walker Hamilton
All The Little Animals was first published in 1968, and is something of a forgotten classic. Alan Warner’s introduction to this reissue gives a summary of the background to this amnesia, pointing out that although author Walker Hamilton came from Airdrie, the book isn’t mentioned in any Scot Lit histories. A shame, as it’s a powerful fable-like tale, about the relationship between nature and consumerism.
Bobby Platt is a 31 year old with a childlike mind, due to a car accident when he was young. He’s fled his home and his inheritance to get away from an evil stepfather who keeps him locked up. Making his way to a distant land – Cornwall – he takes up with a kindly man who calls himself Mr Summers, who looks for run-over little animals to bury them.
The book is told in Bobby’s voice, and so the apparently simple storytelling method of fairy tales is used. But like all good fairy tales, there’s a lot of depth to be found behind the apparently simple. This is a fascinating short book, that really does repay re-reading.